What is Behind Trust Litigation?

One of the main reasons for creating a trust is to introduce more clarity into your estate plan. However, litigation related to trusts can and does still occur. In cases where no trust litigation is needed, the trust is created by a settler and then managed by the trustee in line with the laws and the stipulations of the trust administration itself.

However, in some cases, beneficiaries may not agree with the trust estate. If a beneficiary believes that a trustee is not managing the estate fairly, they may be eligible to pursue trust litigation. The trustee may be misinterpreting the desire and intent of the settlers, either on purpose or accidentally. Other reasons for trust litigation in California include things such as:

  • The settler having undue influence on them from another individual
  • Doubts about the mental capacity of the settler when they created the trust
  • The trust is poorly written, appears to have been tampered with or has mistakes
  • The trustee refuses to provide financial information or the trust itself to other involved parties.
  • The trustee is not fulfilling their fiduciary responsibilities.

Not every case of a trustee acting will necessarily lead to trust litigation. Trustees often have some discretion over the best way to interpret the instructions of the trust so long as they donโ€™t violate any existing laws or duties.

Drafting a strong trust with the help of the right lawyer can reduce the possibility of trust litigation, but the possibility of litigation also highlights the importance of picking the right trustee. When the trustee is prepared and professional, there is a much lower chance of a legal dispute.

The statute of limitations in California requires that any trust litigation be initiated within 120 days from the time that you receive the statutory notification informing you about a trust. This official documentation should be sent to you by the trustee. However, you have up to three years to file a lawsuit against the trustee if you discover a breach of fiduciary duty on their part. Communicating with a qualified estate planning lawyer in Pasadena will help.

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